What started out as a simple photo-sharing app has now become a worldwide giant, firmly planting its feet within e-commerce, and now influencers are reigning over the platform.

Instagram is evidently trying to keep up to date with what their users want; after having released its shopping feature, as well as reels, which creators can use to showcase their content and advertise products to their followers.

What exactly will be included in the affiliate feature?

Android developer and reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi recently shared a thread of screenshots detailing Instagram’s latest updates, including its new affiliate feature.

The new setting will be visible through the Creator section within the app, with users being able to sign up for it following a few simple steps.

The feature may not be readily available for everyone at launch, and it is not yet clear if it will be available to all Instagram users, or just those considered influencers, with a larger following. We also are not sure of a release date, but the platform will likely be rolling out the changes soon.

Allowing influencers to monetise their content through Instagram is a big move, and one that influencer marketing agencies may be hesitant about. Influencers will be able to create content through which followers can engage and shop on Instagram, meaning monetisation is more simple, and may allow influencers to connect with more brands. This could all result in a highly streamlined affiliate marketing process.

Those who wish to be eligible for the programme must follow Instagram’s ‘Partner Monetization Policies’, which include points such as living in an eligible country, complying with community guidelines and monetising authentic engagement.

If an influencer does not follow the policies, their account will be blocked for 24 hours from when they turn on the affiliate feature. However, if an account is said not to be eligible, a review can be requested.

Only certain shops on Instagram will offer affiliate product tagging, so influencers must choose to work with these shops. They will then earn money when followers use the affiliate tag to purchase an item.

Additional updates

As well as the affiliate programme update, Instagram is also working on another section, ‘Content Controls’, though which users can mute certain words.

Listed in the privacy section of the app, users will be able to block certain words meaning that any direct messages containing these words will be blocked.

These updates are proof of Instagram striving to keep up to date with what users want. The affiliate programme should be huge for the marketing sphere; it could result in a huge boost for influencer marketing in 2021. The platforms latest e-commerce features mean influencers will be able to streamline processes, expand their networks and create better relationships with brands and followers alike.